District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) changes effective from 10 February 2016

The Australian Government has recently changed the DWS status of many areas. If you are recruiting an Internationally Trained Medical Graduate (IMG), these changes may affect your availability for this GP to gain a Medicare Provider number at your practice. To find the DWS status for your region go to the Doctor Connect Locator Map and select the Districts of Workforce Shortage Layer. For accuracy enter your practice street address. If you are interested in recruiting a GP to your practice, please contact the recruitment officer at RWAV on 03 9349 7800 or www.rwav.com.au/contact-us/

Health professionals new to the region

Health professional orientation: All regions

The Rural Workforce Agency (RWAV) provides on-site orientation for newly recruited healthcare professionals ensuring they are fully supported in their transition into their new role and workplace.  Contact RWAV on 03 9349 7800 or email info@rwav.com.au

GP orientation: Barwon Health (Geelong region)

New GPs in the region and GP Registrars are invited to a regional orientation. The orientation will involve a brief summary of the community resources in the region, a tour of Geelong Hospital to meet key personnel and to discuss the interface between the GP and the hospital.  It will provide GPs/GP Registrars with the opportunity to meet each other, the GP Liaison Unit (Barwon health) staff and to become acquainted with Western Victoria Primary Health Network office and staff.  Registrars who have previously worked at Geelong Hospital will still benefit as they will be introduced to a broader range of community services from a GP perspective.

Sessions are held in February and August of each year, please contact Customer Service on 03 5222 0800 to find out the date of the next session and enroll in an orientation.

Health professional education

Western Victoria Primary Health Network provide regular education events across the network.  All events are advertised in our weekly newsletter and on our Events calendar.

GP Clinical Attachments: Barwon Health (Geelong region)

Clinical Attachments info

Western Victoria Primary Health Network can facilitate clinical attachments at Barwon Health. This enables GPs to choose a field they are interested in and spend time with a specialist in this field for a minimum of ten hours spread over a number of weeks. Past clinical attachments have included pregnancy care, cardiology and cancer clinics.

If you are interested in doing a Clinical Attachment contact Customer Services on 03 5222 0800 at Western Victoria Primary Health Network so they can provide you with more information.

Health professionals looking for work

Health professional vacancies

A number of vacancies for health professionals currently exist in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network region. If you are interested in applying for a position, please feel free to contact any of the practices under the Health Professional's Jobs section.

To register your interest in employment opportunities in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network please contact the Rural Workforce Agency (RWAV) on 03 9349 7800 or email info@rwav.com.au

Primary Care/Practice Nurses

Considering a nursing career in primary health?  Visit the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Australia (APNA) website for valuable resources and career advice.

Rural and Remote scholarships and locum opportunities

Many of our regions are classified as Rural or Remote which means your profession may have scholarships or locum opportunities.  The following websites may be useful:

Rural Workforce Agency (RWAV)

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH)

GP workforce information

Types of Medical Registration

Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, there is a range of registration categories under which a doctor can practice medicine in Australia.Different categories apply to different types of registration. More information about these categories is published below.

Categories of medical registration are:

  1. General registration
  2. Specialist registration
  3. Provisional registration
  4. Limited registration
  5. Non-practising registration

Overseas Trained Doctors (OTD)s wishing to apply for registration must meet the pre-requisites of:

  • English Language Proficiency
  • Primary Source Verification of Documents
  • Certificates of Registration Status/Certificates of Good Standing

Vocational Training

Vocational training programs are run by the Specialist Medical Colleges including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP ) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and take between 3 and 7 years to complete.

Successful completion of this training leads to eligibility for recognition by the relevant College, which in turn enables OTDs to apply to a Medical Board for registration to practice independently as a specialist in Australia.

Contact the relevant Australian Specialist Medical College for more information on vocational training programs, or ask your employer for advice.

RACGP http://www.racgp.org.au/

ACRRM https://www.acrrm.org.au/

Provider Number

The Medicare Provider Number is specific to the GP and location at which they are working. This allows doctors to refer and prescribe through the Medicare system, allowing patients to claim a rebate for services provided.

Certain restrictions may apply to your Medicare Provider Number when it is issued, for example, some doctors are required to work only in certain areas of Australia.

For more information on the Medicare Provider Number or to make an application, visit this website.

Medicare Provider Number Legislation

Section 19AB of the Act applies to Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) and Foreign Graduates of Accredited Medical Schools (FGAMS) who gained their first medical registration or became permanent Australian residents or citizens on or after 1 January 1997. Section 19AB restricts their access to Medicare provider numbers and requires them to work in a district of workforce shortage (DWS) in order to access Medicare benefits arrangements.

OTDs and FGAMS who are subject to section 19AB are generally required to work in a DWS for a minimum period of 10 years (referred to as the 10 year moratorium requirement) from the date of their first medical registration.

What is a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)?

A DWS is an area where the general population’s need for medical services is deemed to be unmet. An area is a DWS if it has less access to medical services than the national average.

District of Workforce Shortage factsheet

Districts of Workforce Shortage are determined by the Australian Department of Health. Criteria depend on the location of the practice that you wish to work in and the access to healthcare within that immediate community.

You may search the database of localities to determine which practices are in a District of Workforce Shortage online at: Map locator (shows current DWS areas for GPs)

If a practice has DWS status, OTDs who work there will be exempted from the restriction on their Medicare Provider Number, so enabling them to claim Medicare rebates.

Medicare Online Education Services

A range of online education services are available to help health professionals understand their obligations when working with the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Employing an Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD)

Employing an Overseas Trained Doctor

An employer, who’s sponsoring an Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD) to come to Australia, whether as a temporary or a permanent resident, has certain responsibilities.

It is suggested that practices consider the following issues before hiring an OTD:

  • If the position requires the doctor to bill for Medicare, the position must be in a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)
  • Your OTD must obtain an appropriate visa
  • The OTD must obtain medical registration through AHPRA. It is your responsibility to ensure that the applicant is likely to meet the requirements for registration and is suitable for the position
  • The OTD must obtain police clearances and health checks for immigration purposes (where relevant)
  • You must obtain a Medicare provider number (for purposes other than billing) on behalf of the OTD when they have been approved
  • The OTD must meet the English language requirements of the Australian Medical Council
  • You are responsible for the orientation of and the ongoing support for the OTD
  • You must ensure that the OTD has appropriate medical indemnity cover to work in Australia

Here’s a simple checklist showing what you’re likely to have to do to employ an OTD. Follow the links for more information on each step. http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/forEmployers

Additional information can be found on the Doctor Connect and Department of Health website 

For further information contact RWAV on 03 9349 7800 or email info@rwav.com.au